A project of the Institute for Human Centered Design
January 2021 Newsletter
ADA Question of the Month
Question: When alterations are undertaken, the ADA Standards for Accessible Design requires additional accessibility, beyond making the altered portion accessible. The entire building needs to be made accessible if the alterations are greater than 50% of the value of the building. True or False?

The answer is at the end of the newsletter.
COVID-19 Updates
As Hospitals Fear Being Overwhelmed By COVID-19, Do The Disabled Get The Same Access?
Stethoscope next to a pen on a white paper form
The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge demand on our healthcare system. With diminishing resources, one question has been raised, one that people with disabilities and the elderly have worried about since the start of the coronavirus pandemic: Are they denied care when healthcare supplies gets scarce — like drugs or treatment, including ventilators? An NPR investigation looked into a dozen reports of discrimination.

Image source: image courtesy of Pixnio.
New England ADA Center's ADA and COVID-19 Webpage
New England ADA Center IHCD Combined Graphic
People with disabilities have a right of participation in society even during a pandemic. We have collected resources to help people understand their ADA rights during the pandemic. Read more about how the ADA relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional News
Free Virtual Workshop: ADA Standards for Accessible Design and Massachusetts Architectural Access Regulations -
What's Required in Alterations and Additions
toilet with grab bars, mirror and sink on the right, grey walls and grey tiled floor.
On January 21st from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the New England ADA Center will co-host a free virtual workshop. Determining what’s required to be accessible under the MAAB Regulations and the ADA Standards when altering or expanding a facility can be a challenge. Learn how and to what extent requirements in the MAAB Regulations and the ADA Standards apply to planned alterations and additions. There will be time for questions.

Image source: image courtesy of the U.S. Access Board.
Webinar: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities: Disability Issues in Employment
New England ADA Center IHCD Combined Graphic
On February 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. the New England ADA Center and the Disability Law Center will host a free webinar on disability issues in employment. During this training, attorneys from the Disability Law Center will discuss the rights of employees and obligations for employers set out in federal and state laws. Other topics are reasonable accommodation, the interactive process, disclosing a disability, FMLA, leave, and remedies for alleged discrimination. There will be time for questions.
This training is free and open to the public. A zoom link will be emailed to all registrants.

ADA National Network Celebrates 30 Years of Service
ADA National Network Celebrating 30 Years!
Did you know the ADA National Network is entering its 30th year of service? In 2021, we will share videos, memories, and events to celebrate 30 years of providing information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Thank you for being part of our family and community over the years! Follow #ADANetwork30 to learn more about our anniversary events!
As always, our ADA specialists are here to help. Contact us at 1-800-949-4232 (toll-free voice or TTY) or email us at info@NewEnglandaDA.org.
New England ADA Center is Open and Provides Webinars on the Americans with Disabilities Act
New England ADA Center IHCD Combined Graphic
During this pandemic, compliance with the ADA is even more critical whether you are a municipality, non-profit organization, state agency or business. We are open for business and here to take your ADA questions. Let us help you ensure that everyone can participate in your services. The New England ADA Center provides webinars on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact us at 800-949-4232 or info@NewEnglandADA.org with your questions or to request a training.

National News
U.S. Attorney’s Office Settles Disability Discrimination Allegations with Operator of Skilled Nursing Facilities
The U.S. Attorney’s Office reached an agreement today with Alliance Health and Human Services, the operator of eight skilled nursing facilities in Massachusetts, to resolve allegations that they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by turning away patients because they were being treated for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Under the terms of the agreement, Alliance will adopt a non-discrimination policy, provide training on the ADA and OUD to admissions personnel, and pay a civil penalty.

U.S. Department of Justice Finds Jails Failed to Protect Prisoners Experiencing Opioid Withdrawal
Jail cells painted white and interior is dark
United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division United States Attorney’s Office District of New Jersey
had reasonable cause to conclude that a county jail failed to protect inmates from harm by not providing MAT to individuals at significant risk of harm from opioid withdrawal. The jail routinely employed a withdrawal protocol that departed from the accepted standard of care, one designed for alcohol—not opiate—withdrawal, that was a contributing factor in six suicides.

Image source: image courtesy of Navajo Times by Ryan McBrady.
Mindset Matters: The Future Of Work, Disability, and Imagining What’s Next
"What's Next?" Four packs of post-it notes piled upon another with a aqua blue background.
The coronavirus pandemic provided an opening for corporate executives and business owners to recognize the challenges that people with disabilities have faced across the business ecosystem for years. As companies were forced to adapt or reinvent themselves on the fly, there is now this potential for a greater appreciation around disability that offers key takeaways to foster new ways to think about the future of their business.

Image source: image courtesy of Forbes.
Honoring the Life and Legacy of Disability Rights Pioneer Richard A. "Dick" Thornburgh
Richard Thornburgh. Balding, grey haired white male in a dark suit with a red tie in front of a blue podium.
Thornburgh, whose public career spanned more than twenty-five years – first as Governor of Pennsylvania, then as the Attorney General of the United States under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush and later as Under-Secretary of the United Nations – passed away on December 31, 2020. He was an early ally in the fight for disability rights, access and inclusion. He worked to ensure the passage of the ADA.

Image source: image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Webinar: ADA National Network 30th Anniversary Series: Spotlight on the ADA Title II Action Guide for State and Local Governments and the ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities
ADA Title II Action Guide for State and Local Governments - 7 Steps to  Implement the ADA Graphic
Soon after the Department of Justice issued the 2010 ADA Title II regulations and the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, the New England ADA Center created two important tools to assist with compliance. During this session presenters will review both of those tools to provide a deeper understanding of how they can be helpful to both public accommodations and state and local governments. Webinar by Kathy Gips, Director of Training New England ADA Center; Thursday, February 11, 2021; 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Image source: file image.
New Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Q&As on the COVID-19 Vaccine
Recently the EEOC updated their guidance for the COVID-19 vaccination. The availability of COVID-19 vaccinations may raise questions about the applicability of various equal employment opportunity laws. The laws do not interfere with or prevent employers from following CDC or other federal, state, and local public health authorities’ guidelines and suggestions.

Image source: file image.
New Fact Sheet: Addiction, Recovery and State and Local Governments
The ADA National Network has released the third factsheet in our ‘ADA, Addiction, and Recovery’ series! Learn more about how the ADA applies to state and local governments for people with addiction to alcohol and people in recovery from opioids and other drugs by visiting our newest factsheet: Addiction, Recovery and State and Local Governments. View our other factsheets on addiction, recovery and the ADA on our website.
Answer to the ADA Question of the Month
Answer: False. Under the ADA Standards, if a primary function area is being altered, the path of travel to the altered area and the restrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving the primary function area, must be made accessible unless the cost of that additional work is more than 20% of the cost of the alteration to the primary function area.  A "primary function" is a major activity for which the facility is intended, for example the customer services lobby of a bank, the dining area of a cafeteria, or the meeting rooms in a conference center. Access regulations across New England (like Massachusetts 521CMR) may have different or addition requirements. For specific questions email info@NewEnglandADA.org or call 1-800-949-4232. For more information on this and other complex issues, join the New England ADA Center's upcoming FREE virtual workshop: ADA Standards for Accessible Design Massachusetts Architectural Access Regulations - What's Required in Alterations and Additions
Stay Connected:
We strive to ensure the Newsletter and the content we share is accessible. Unfortunately we have limited control of external websites. Please email us at adainfo@newenglandada.org if you encounter any issues accessing the newsletter or related content.

Access New England features topics related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), originating from the ADA Center, our state affiliates, the ADA National Network, and national sources.

The New England ADA Center is a member of the ADA National Network funded by the Administration for Community Living through National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research Grant  90DP0087.